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The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man #14

Review by Paul Bowler

After investigating a break in at the S.T.A.R Quantum Physics Lab, Firestorm is attacked by a new team of super powered criminals, but he quickly recovers and begins to fight back against Relay, Skull Crusher, and Black Star. Firestorm uses his power to transmute matter to quickly neutralizes Black Star and Skull Crusher, unaware his abilities are being monitored by the horribly crippled Dr Megala back at The Continuum underground research facility. Dr Megala orders Relay to use her telepathic powers to scan Firestorm and she senses that he is actually two being in one body – detecting Ronnie and Jason’s separate personalities. Before she can learn too much, Firestorm knocks her out, but not before Dr Megala activates the labs quantum field.

Firestorm is left in agony as the machinery disrupts his structural integrity, it feels like they are being torn apart, in sheer desperation Jason instructs Ronnie to unleash the strongest burst of explosive energy he can. Firestorm lets rip, destroying the equipment, and blasts his way out of the building. As they return home and transform back into their civilian identities, Firestorm vanishes from Dr Megala’s sensors. Dr Megala has been monitoring the multiple sightings of the various other Firestorms around the world for some time now, although he is uncertain why they have all suddenly disappeared, Megala is determined to study this Firestorm in the hope that he might replicate the brief instance when Captain Atom freed him from the limitations of his disease ridden body to soar amongst the stars.

The next day at High School it seem like the effects of the battle have yet to wear off, Ronnie and Jason are still exhausted and in pain. Luckily for Ronnie, he doesn’t have to worry too much as Tonya has finished his History Paper for him, something which causes Jason to react angrily over Ronnie’s flippant attitude towards his studies. Later, when Jason goes home, he walks in on his dad arranging a date over the phone with Ronnie’s mother – Joanne. Before he can even begin to deal with this news, Jason doubles up in agony. As his father tries to help, Ronnie arrives, having also been affected by painful spasms. They turn into Firestorm and fly off to try and find out what is happening to them, but as Jason tells Ronnie about Al and Joanne they are suddenly attacked by the giant robot Daxaxen.

In his weakened state Firestorm is unable to put up much of a fight, and the robot easily snares him using cables infused with quantum energy that cancel out his powers. Firestorm is helpless to avoid being drawn inside Daxaxen, once he is imprisoned Dr Megala initiates the transfer device he has constructed, and after a blinding flash of energy the crippled scientist transplants his mind into Firestorm’s and takes over his body. While Dr Megala relishes his stolen bodies incredible powers, General Eiling assesses the damage at the lab, but before he can investigate further he receives an unexpected is visit from Captain Atom!

The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man #14 continues to expand on writer/artist Dan Jurgens brand new direction for the series. It’s great to see just how quickly Ronnie and Jason are adapting to their shared existence as Firestorm. In combat their combined abilities are enhanced by their different personalities: while Jason calmly transmutes the floor beneath Black Star to gas, Ronnie hilariously changes Skull Crusher’s armoured form into a giant bunny suit, an equally blunt approach stops Relay from scanning their minds, but in the end they selflessly rely on teamwork to escape from the lab when the quantum field begins to tear them apart.

Back in their everyday lives at High School tensions are beginning to rise between the two friends as Ronnie’s indifferent attitude towards his studies being to annoy Jason, especially as Ronnie had to rely on Tonya to complete a paper for him, and its becoming clear that Jason is starting to feel jealous about Ronnie is spending time with Tonya. This is further compounded when Jason finds out his dad is dating Ronnie’s mother, although Ronnie and Jason don’t have much time to digests this news before they have to rush into action as Firestorm again.

It’s also nice to see Captain Atom return from the abyss of cancellation; his title was one of The New 52’s most innovative yet, and the character seems like a natural choice to guest star in Firestorm. After the events of Captain Atom #11 its not surprising that Dr Megala wants to escape his twisted body again. Although the body swap idea is nothing new, it is given a nice twist here as Firestorm himself is a combined being, so it will be interesting to find out what has happened to Ronnie and Jason now that Megala has taken over their body.

Dan Jurgens art on Firestorm #14 is inked by Ray McCarthy and vibrantly coloured by Hi-Fi, together they make a great team, bringing as much depth and substance to the more domestic aspects of the book as they do the big action sequences with Firestorm. The Fury of Firestorm #14 is another fantastic issue in this new series, everything feels fresh and exciting and I can’t wait to see how Ronnie and Jason cope with being taken over by Dr Megala.